The following is Unexpectant co-creator Stephanie’s second birth story.
There was a lot of talk from the very beginning of my second pregnancy about how the delivery would go. Since I was only in labor just over 4 hours before having my first, everyone seemed concerned about how quickly the second would come, and if I would even make it to the hospital. At one of my first midwife appointments, they suggested I assemble an emergency birthing kit to keep in the car – just in case. Although the idea of having a baby in the car probably stresses most people out, I felt like the threat of a lightning fast birth was a pretty lucky problem to have. However, I always told myself that I needed to be ready for the possibility that this one could be much longer than the first, just so I wouldn’t be caught completely off guard if it did turn out that way. My birth plan didn’t really change either…I knew that I could get through labor and delivery completely unmedicated since I had done it once before. But then again, I didn’t really have a choice because it happened so fast. So I went into it thinking the same thing I did with my first – that I wanted to get to at least 5 cm before considering an epidural, because I wanted to be able to walk and move around into different positions as long as possible knowing that would help get the baby in the right position and prevent labor from stalling.
As it turns out, my second delivery was almost identical to my first. In both, my water broke shortly after midnight, and since I was Strep B positive, I headed straight to the hospital. With my first, we took our time since I wasn’t having regular contractions; this time around we didn’t waste a moment for fear of how quickly we were expecting things to go. In triage my contractions were irregular and fairly mild, but I was dilating and they wanted to have the IV antibiotic in my system for 4 hours before the baby was delivered, so I was admitted pretty quickly. I was extremely glad to get out of triage, because with my first delivery I was kept there for nearly two hours, leading to an extremely chaotic delivery of my oldest son less than 45 minutes after I was admitted. Once everything got set up in the delivery room, my midwife and I discussed some options. I was just over 5cm but my contractions were still pretty irregular. She said she would stop by in about 2 hours to see how I had progressed and at that time we would talk about how to move forward.
Shortly after she left, my contractions started to become more intense, but still irregular. A few came right on top of each other, then I wouldn’t have one for 3 or 4 minutes. I walked around the room a little, and when they started to get more intense, I got on my knees and rested over the back of the upright hospital bed. I listened to a few songs on my iPod and realized the contractions were getting really intense and I could tell that things were going to pick up quickly. I called for my midwife…and for the epidural. The nurse said there were 3 other patients in line before me, and as soon as she told me that, I knew it would be too late.
By the time my midwife made it to the room I was already in transition. The contractions were too painful for me to stay on top of. Having my midwife there was great because she would just touch my shoulder softly and whisper for me to relax and encourage me. I started to feel intense pressure and told her I needed to push. She hadn’t checked my dilation since I was 5 cm so she had me lay on my back. I had been on my knees the whole time and lying on my back was not at all what I wanted to do…the change in pressure and pain was immediate. But she said I was complete and that if I felt like I needed to, I should go ahead and push. I certainly did feel like pushing! I also really wanted to get back on my knees, but physically I just couldn’t do it. My body was just taking over and there was no time between contractions. I was torn between my body telling me that I needed to relieve the pressure on my back and telling me that there was nothing else it was going to do but push. The baby was already down so far that I felt like I would be trying to roll over with a watermelon between my legs!
Right about this time the anesthesiologist came into the room and nonchalantly started setting up for the epidural. I could see her in the corner getting all of her gear out and thinking, “Is she insane! I’m pushing this baby out! How does she think she is going to give me an epidural right now?” My midwife eventually turned and notified her that we would not be needing the epidural. I just remember thinking that woman must have been completely nuts to not even ask before starting to set up.
I was really lucky again not to have to push for very long. It did take longer than my first delivery, but the second baby was also quite a bit bigger. Just over 5 hours after my water had broken, we delivered my second son, Owen Khalil. I felt great immediately after delivery. I was relieved that everything had gone well and that he was healthy. I was so freaked out by chaos of the (unexpectedly fast) delivery of my first son that I had a hard time taking it all in. This time, I felt much more relaxed and enjoyed the whole process after his birth. I felt comfortable holding him and nursing him right away…all things that seemed overwhelming with my first. I feel really fortunate to have had two healthy and uncomplicated deliveries. And although I also feel incredibly lucky that they were also fast, I’m very happy that we did not have to employ the emergency home/car birthing kit!